2020.04.03 10:38

Lithuania closes border to cars from Russia and Belarus

BNS 2020.04.03 10:38

A ban for passenger cars entering Lithuania from Belarus and Russia have come into force at midnight on Friday. The ban doesn't apply to commercial traffic, and people are still able to enter from Latvia and Poland via two border checkpoints.

As of midnight, passenger cars are allowed to enter Lithuania only via the Kalvarija-Budzisko border checkpoint on the Polish border and Saločiai-Grenstale border checkpoint on the Latvian border.

Only Lithuanian citizens and residents, as well as those transiting the counry, are allowed entry, Giedrius Mišutis, spokesman for Lithuania's State Border Guard Service, told BNS on Friday.

Read more: Lithuania bans passenger air, ferry travel

However, the commander of the border guard service can issue exceptions, Giedrius Surplys, a government's spokesman, said on Friday.

"In certain exceptional cases the commander can issue a permission to cross the border," he said. "Since the Lihuanian–Belarusian border was closed on Friday, 10 permissions to return to Lithuania were issued by the commander."

As Lithuania does not restrict the movement of goods, commercial transport is still allowed to enter via other border checkpoints on the country's borders with Latvia, Poland, Russia and Belarus.

Lithuania' airspace will be closed for passenger flights and ferries from Saturday, except for the ferry route between the German port of Kiel and Klaipėda.

The movement restrictions will be in force during the entire quarantine time until at least April 13, with an extension already under consideration.

The Lithuanian government is also organising a repatriation flight for Lithuanians from the UK on Friday night, and Lithuanian citizens will have an opportunity to come home from Milan.

Two flights from Minsk and several ferries from Sweden allowed exception

Two flights from Minsk to Vilnius will take place under exceptional conditions over the upcoming weekend, Rasa Jakilaitienė, the spokeswoman for Lithuania's Foreign Ministry, told BNS on Thursday.

Passengers who purchased tickets in advance will be able to fly on Saturday and Sunday, she said.

"It's an exceptional case, under [Lithuanian Foreign] Minister Linkevičius' request," Jakilaitienė told BNS.

An exception will also be applied to people returning to Lithuania by ferry from Sweden who had bought ferry tickets for April 4, 6, 8 and 10, she said.